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From September 15 to October 15, the global logistics provider shines a spotlight on National Hispanic Heritage Month by celebrating the histories, cultures, and contributions of team members whose lineage came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central and South America.
Every year, Americans observe National Hispanic Heritage Month from September 15 to October 15 by celebrating the histories, cultures, and contributions of American citizens whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central and South America. What began in 1968 as Hispanic Heritage Week under President Lyndon Johnson was expanded by President Ronald Reagan in 1988 to cover a 30-day period starting on September 15 and ending on October 15.
Enacted into law in 1988, September 15 is significant because it is the anniversary of independence for Latin American countries Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua. In addition, Mexico and Chile celebrate their independence days on September 16 and September 18, respectively. Columbus Day—or Día de la Raza—is October 12 and also falls within this 30-day period.
An important month for DB Schenker’s team members, leaders, business partners, and customers, National Hispanic Heritage Month is a great time to continue integrating diversity into our business, promote cross-cultural comprehension, and focus on building out a diverse base of suppliers. It’s also a time to honor valued team members and the contributions that they make to DB Schenker on a daily basis. Here are five Hispanic women who go above and beyond to make our company great.
Setting Positive Examples Every Day
When Mabel Rodriguez’s parents emigrated from Cuba to the U.S. in 1962, they brought with them a strong work ethic and a determination to succeed in their new country. They passed this commitment along to their daughter, who today serves as a Branch Manager for DB Schenker in Miami, Orlando, and Puerto Rico.
As a wife, mother, and daughter, Rodriguez works to balance her busy career with her many personal responsibilities. “I set a positive example for my daughter in terms of achieving professional goals,” she says. “Physical fitness is also an integral part of my day, which normally ends at about 11:00pm.”
At DB Schenker, Rodriguez manages the international import and export departments for three branches. Her typical day includes conference calls, staff and customer meetings, and managing the day-to-day facilities operations. For Rodriguez, maintaining a flexible schedule is important as unexpected operational circumstances arise frequently.
Rodriguez says DB Schenker is committed to promoting a diverse work environment, and points out that Hispanic women are seen in all levels of the organization, including on its senior management team. She sees National Hispanic Heritage Month as a great time to celebrate that diversity.
“Many of us look back to our parents’ struggle, as they came to the U.S. to start new lives and to provide promising futures for their children,” Rodriguez says. “To me, this is the true Hispanic Heritage Celebration.”
Living Her Hispanic Heritage
As head of DB Schenker’s industrial and automotive vertical markets in the Americas, Monica Franco reports directly to the firm’s chief commercial officer. Based in Miami, she joined the company after working for two different logistics firms over a 20-year period. An Industrial and Systems Engineer by trade, Franco started her logistics career as a consultant.
Franco, who manages two important customer vertical markets for DB Schenker in the Americas, says her role is to ensure that top customers get the services and support that they need on a daily basis. “I have a team of global, regional (Americas), and country account managers who are assigned to a portfolio of accounts,” says Franco, “hence, I ensure the team has everything it needs to be able to achieve their sales objectives and those of the company overall.”
When Franco first joined DB Schenker in January, she heard COO Ewald Kaiser speak in a town-hall forum about the Americas not being a “construction site,” but rather a region that has contributed to the overall organization well and continues to be a great potential. “I truly appreciated that; it motivated me to continue to drive growth and excellence in a region I hold very close to my heart,” says Franco, who is a first generation American of Colombian descent.
Franco says she calls herself Colombian-American, debates which jersey to wear when the U.S. and Colombia play a soccer match, and lives her heritage in South Florida—an area that’s rich with Hispanic culture. “South Florida caters to and allows us to showcase our Hispanic roots, while being so close to Latin America,” says Franco. “I also take pride in seeing my kids live and enjoy their Hispanic heritage to the fullest!”
A Great Place to Work
She’s lived most of her adult life in the U.S., but Corina Soriano also has strong ties to the Dominican Republic, where both of her parents were born and raised. Before joining DB Schenker, Soriano had the opportunity to return to the Dominican Republic and work in her parents’ home country which not only allowed her to return to her roots but to also truly understand and embrace her family’s culture.
As head of CoE Global Employment Conditions at Schenker Americas, Inc., Soriano has also lived in Puerto Rico—yet another island that is rich with Hispanic culture. “Those two different cultures had a strong influence on my Hispanic heritage,” says Soriano, who credits her diverse upbringing with helping her advance her career.
“I think that having such a diverse upbringing and cultural background opened the doors for many global job opportunities, and allows me to adapt to and understand a multitude of cultures,” says Soriano, who has worked in Europe, the U.S., and the Caribbean. “This opened the doors and laid the foundation to my success at DB Schenker, where I’ve not only been given the chance to grow, but to also lead, mentor, and guide a very diverse team that includes numerous other Hispanic women.”
Calling DB Schenker “a great place to work,” Soriano says she’s enjoyed the many different doors that the company has opened for her along the way. “Not only is DB Schenker a company with many diverse employees of varied backgrounds,” she says, “but it’s also an organization that prides itself on its diversity. I am proud to be a Hispanic woman and I am proud to work at DB Schenker!”
A Great Place to Work
With 25 years of experience in human resources, Marta Ramirez brought her expertise and knowledge to DB Schenker about 2-1/2 years ago. As Chief Human Resources Officer, Region Americas, she leads and supports the HR function for DB Schenker’s operations in 10 different countries. Of Cuban descent, Ramirez is “first and foremost” a wife and a mother whose responsibilities include caring for her family, ensuring its comfort, and creating an environment where its members perform well both as a family unit, and as individuals.
Ramirez takes that same level of responsibility into the workforce, where she is the first Hispanic woman to serve on the Americas senior management team. “This is a great place to work for women in general, and for Hispanic women in particular, because it openly embraces diversity,” says Ramirez. “We also have equal pay, equal career opportunities, and equal growth opportunities.”
According to Ramirez, DB Schenker is also focused on helping women advance and succeed in their careers. “Given the complexities that a woman may encounter raising a family and also dedicating many hours of the day towards a job,” says Ramirez, “DB Schenker provides an environment in which women can have the opportunity to succeed and prosper.”
Calling National Hispanic Heritage Month a “true celebration of diversity and cultural enrichment,” Ramirez says. “More than one-fifth of the U.S. population is Hispanic, so this is a country from which to celebrate how the Hispanic community can enrich the places where we live and contribute.”
Making Time for Cafecitos
As DB Schenker’s Senior Director of Finance, Americas, Monica Hallon O’Brien puts in pretty long hours and works many weekends, but says the extra effort is well worth it. “My group is absolutely fabulous,” says Hallon O’Brien, whose team supports the strategies and goals of the SMT. “As part of the finance team, we are always looking for opportunities to bring value to the organization and assist the SMT with their strategies and goals.”
A wife and a mother of two college-aged children, Hallon O’Brien was born in Ecuador. The youngest of nine children, she was raised in a very family-oriented and “very Latin environment,” she says. “Hispanic culture places a strong value on ethics and family. I am part of a 90+ member family.”
Those family members love to get together, socialize, dance, and dine. “My family’s go-to get-together is called a ‘cafecito,’” says Hallon O’Brien. “Latins are smart, passionate, hardworking, fearless, and fun-loving people. So even with busy lives, we always make time for these quick, casual get-togethers, which give us an opportunity to get together and bond.”
Married for 29 years, Hallon O’Brien and her husband, Sean, have a daughter who is a graduate student at the University of Denver and a son who is a sophomore at FIU. “My home days are like any other mother and wife who works,” she says. “We are always juggling family and career. We are active in our church and weekends are usually filled with home, friends and family.”
Hallon O’Brien enjoys the family-like atmosphere at DB Schenker, where everyone converges and works to meet their common goals. “If you work hard and are part of the DB Schenker team,” she says, “everything is possible.”
DB Schenker highly values each and every one of its employees, and is proud of its inclusive, diverse corporate culture. Here’s to another fantastic National Hispanic Heritage Month!